Misuse of Promotional Items Leads Car Dealerships to Settlement with Attorney General
After misleading customers with promotional products, including scratch-off game cards, and fraudulent sales tactics, Atlantic Auto Group will settle with the New York Attorney General for restitution and penalties. The chain of 22 dealerships in Nassau and Suffolk counties will pay $310,000.
Atlantic Auto Group had hired a company from 2012 through 2014 to mail out 500,000 promotional items to customers, including scratch-off game cards in which individuals believed they could win a variety of prizes like cash, a free car, a flat-screen TV or an iPad, according to Newsday.
Those who received the cards could see if they had won something, but not what they had won. They were directed to bring the game cards into the dealership to claim their prizes.
However, as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, the cards made individuals think they were guaranteed a prize, when, in reality, almost no one won. As a result of the dealerships’ actions, more than 250 complaints were made to the regional attorney general offices.
Schneiderman’s announcement of the settlement stated that the dealerships “persistently defrauded consumers with misleading promotions and fraudulent sales tactics.”
The attorney general’s office also charged Atlantic Auto Group of obtaining contract signatures under false pretense, publishing misleading print ads, offering false discounts, not making customers aware of additional fees and more.
With the settlement, Atlantic Auto Group admits to no wrongdoing. However, according to Newsday, Michael Brown, a co-owner of Atlantic Auto Group, said that the promotional products came from “a vendor of ours that apparently did not do business the right way. We no longer use that company.”